The broad-scale distribution of microfungi in the Windmill Islands region, continental Antarctica
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- Azmi, O. & Seppelt, R. Polar Biol (1998) 19: 92. doi:10.1007/s003000050219
Microfungi were isolated from soils, mosses, algae and lichens in the Windmill Islands region of Antarctica. From a total of 1,228 isolates, 22 genera were identified. The most frequently isolated fungi from mosses were Mycelia sterilia (47% of total isolates), Phoma spp. (18%), Penicillium spp. (11%), Chrysosporium spp. (7%) and Thelebolus microsporus (6%). Mycelia sterilia, Penicillium spp., Mortierella spp., Chrysosporium cf. pannorum and Thelebolus microsporus were also frequently isolated from algae. Fungal distribution and diversity were poor in samples of lichens, compared to samples from mosses and algae. The frequency of occurrence of microfungi was most often associated with strong biotic influence. There was a marked increase in fungal diversity in human-disturbed sites. Twelve taxa were restricted to soils from near the Australian Casey Station, suggesting significant introduction of fungi into this environment by human activities. Away from the station, fungal distribution appeared to be related to substrata and nutrient status rather than dispersal opportunities. Suggestions for future research and the need for constant monitoring to clarify the role of human disturbance on Antarctic fungi are discussed.